With NFL training camp heating up, there are a lot of stories heading into the pre-season. One team that everyone is keeping an eye on is the Indianapolis Colts. On Tuesday, reported by CBS Sports, the team is feeling that quarterback Andrew Luck could start the 2017 season on the PUP list, and could miss the first six games of the season due to a shoulder injury. If it comes out to be true and Luck misses the first six games, what is next for the team involving the quarterback position?
In 15 games last season, Luck threw for 4,204 yards, 31 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and finished with a passer rating of 96.4. He did a decent job, as most expected the Colts to be in the running for the AFC South title, and even a playoff berth. Due to the lack of defense that allowed 382.9 yards of total offense a game, the Colts finished with a record of 8-8 for the second year in a row, which was enough for third in the AFC South, as the team did not reach the postseason.
Ever since coming into the league in 2012, coming out of Stanford, Luck has proven that he is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league right now not named Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. He has amazing arm strength, is great in the pocket, and can make the throws under pressure, as long as the offensive line gives him time to throw it. When Luck feels pressured or sees no receiver open, he has proven that he can make plays happen with his legs as well.
The biggest problem with Luck is not himself, but is with the offensive line. Even though he has been in the league since 2012, in three out of the last five seasons that he has played in, the offensive line has allowed Luck to get sacked more than 30 times. This was an issue last season as well, as Luck was sacked a total of 42 times.
Ever since 2015, Luck has been suffering from a shoulder injury that’s has been bothering him. Last season, he played through it for most of the season. On January 19th, Luck finally got the surgery for his hampering shoulder. Recent reports have suggested that Luck is recovering right now, but he is not ready to throw a football quite yet.
When Luck missed nine games back in 2015, veteran Matt Hasselback backup filled in for Luck, but the team was just not the same with the team in terms of leadership on the offensive side of the ball. Yes, when Hasselback was in, the team was decent, but it was dynamic compared to Luck being under center.
With Hasselback currently retired, outside of Andrew Luck, the only quarterback that the team has on the depth chart right now is Scott Tolzien, who has only thrown for 937 career passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions in seven seasons.
With a division that has a rising franchise such as the Tennessee Titans, as well as the Houston Texans, who are the reigning AFC South champions, the Colts should be desperate that Andrew Luck is healthy enough to start the 2017 campaign. Luckily for the Colts, the team only has one divisional game on the schedule for the first six weeks of the season, and that is in week six against Tennessee.
One option that the Colts could explore is investing in a quarterback via agency. With individuals seeking redemption such as Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III, as well as safer options including Shaun Hill and Zach Mettenberger, there of plenty of options the Colts could proceed to.
Out of all of the options, the only one that really sticks out here is Colin Kaepernick. Yes, Kaepernick was in the news last season for standing up for what he believes in, and a handful of franchises have expressed concern of Kaepernick bringing unnecessary media attention to locker rooms, and that is understandable.
Kaepernick would work for the Colts because he still has a lot left in the tank, and has put up very productive numbers in the past for the 49ers. The Colts are in need an efficient backup quarterback right now, and Kaepernick would be a great fit for the Colts offensive scheme. If he proves to be worth the signing, Kaepernick could even take his talents elsewhere in 2018 as a potential starter. Another side note is that the Colts likely would not have to pay a lot for the services of Kaeprnick at this stage, which only makes him more appealing.
At the end of the day, there is still more than three weeks left before the first game of the season on September 10th against the Los Angeles Rams. There is a lot of time for Andrew Luck to heal up his shoulder, and potentially be ready for week one of the regular season. The smart thing to do is to sign Kaepernick as an insurance policy for Luck, just in case he misses the first six games of the season.
Photo Credit http://www.indystar.com/
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